If my ex-employer paid me for 6 months afterI quit, am I legally obligated to return the money?

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If my ex-employer paid me for 6 months afterI quit, am I legally obligated to return the money?

They also had all of my employment benefits still active. It was as if they never ended my employment.

Asked on February 21, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Tennessee

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Yes...if you neither (1) were still employed by the company (or at least were working for them in some capacity, such on a project-based basis), nor (2) the beneficiary of some employment contract or termination agreement providing these post-termination benefits to you, then you have to repay them. The fact that someone made an error and mistakenly continued to pay you and/or provide benefits to you does not give you a right to that compensation; the legal system recognizes that errors do occur and need to be corrected after the fact.

As a practical matter, if they never ask for the money back, stop paying you at some point, and then do not take action for several years, it may be too late for them to seek the return/refund. But if they have asked for it, you have to return it--you have no grounds to keep it.


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